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Two of Many

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It seems the Barack supporters have allied with the Obama deniers to form a supermajority aimed at perpetutating the delusion that Barry was elected due to anything but his race.

First, one of many examples supporting the hypothesis that Obama’s election was wholly-race driven was broadcast by local TV news on election night. In the video, we follow an old black grandmother to the polls as part of a family day of celebration. The woman marks her ballot for Obama—and only Obama. “Why Obama?” the reporter asks. “I think he’ll do what needs to be done.”

A black woman who was an adult during Jim Crow, sufficiently disengaged politically to reject even examining every other contest and question, and either sufficiently bizarre or sufficiently representative to be selected for TV coverage. The story was entirely about race and the election. The woman’s action was about putting race above politics. Or making politics serve race, using a more sinister spin.

This establishes grounds for an assertion that race was the election’s signal issue.

Now, from Al-Jazeera, a story about Obama’s victory delivering hope to a city that once was the slave-trading capital of South America.

It is likely that no group of people anywhere in South America are watching the rise of Barack Obama as the first black US president as passionately as in Salvador, Brazil.

Salvador, on the northeast coast of the country, is Brazil's third largest city with about 2.8 million inhabitants, over 80 per cent of them defining themselves as black of mixed race.

Most people from the city are direct ancestors of the first of four million slaves who were taken to the city in the 16th century from what is modern-day Nigeria.

Most people here say Obama's victory will affect the children of the city in a number of ways, but not just because he is black.

“Obama is not president because he is black, he is president because of the power of his proposals,” said Cesar Souza, who teaches African dance at a school for poor black children.

"Obama is not only going to influence the US, he will influence the politics around the world - and especially here in Brazil," said Lindinalva de Paula, who was also watching Tuesday night's results on local television.

"For the black community here, it represents advancement for us as well - and makes us think seriously of the possibility in Brazil of having a black president."

Brazilians feel an immediate emotional impact not because of the power of Obama’s proposals, but because they have some common blackness. Yet the teacher denies the obvious reason he is being interviewed for publication on a global news service. Al-Jazeera isn’t asking a Polish welder or Thai farmer what they think of Obama.

This is but one example of the prevailing trance. People everywhere are chanting, “not about race, not about race.” Echoing the hypnotic rhythm of an Obama oration, the converted strive to sustain their rapture. The persistent denial of race, in nearly every context from nearly every quarter, is deafening.

Not that folks are denying Barry’s black identity. He is black, that being the only tangible element of his candidacy which they will not credit for his election. As blackness lightens, the magnetic notion of equality achieved loses its pull.

The discordant tone of “We shall overcome,” was resolved by the harmonious notes of, “Yes we can,” to create a chord of absolution. Hearing the diminished 7th of racial preference would collapse them all into an aimless polyphonic cacophany.